Deer Pack Hunting Coyotes in Nevada

One of the most amazing sights of our entire trip happened near Lake Washoe, Nevada.  That is where we encountered Mule Deer; a species you definitely don't see in New England.  Mule Deer are related to our familiar White-tailed Deer, but they are larger, have black tipped ears and and rope-like, black-tipped tails, and a bouncy gait when running. Probably the most noticeable difference in the two species are the huge ears on the Mule Deer, which is where the species got it's name in the first place.

The herd of deer impressed us much more than it did our friends from Nevada, who see them practically every day.  And unlike us, our local friends were not at all surprised to see a coyote sharing the same field as the deer.

What transpired next was a phenomenon that shocked even the locals, however.  As we were watching, the coyote started to drift closer and closer to the herd of deer.  When he got a little too close for comfort, all of the deer suddenly became alert.  They stopped grazing and turned to watch the coyote intently.

Suddenly the herd of Mule Deer started running toward the coyote - and the coyote started running away!

The chase was no game, either.  The deer were out for blood and the coyote was running for his life!

The coyote had good reason to fear.  Those large, hoofed animals could easily tear that puny canine to shreds when hunting as a pack.  Of course, who knew they ever hunted as a pack?

Eventually, the coyote disappeared into the underbrush, never to appear again.  Even more amazing than the sight of a coyote being hunted down by a pack of deer was the fact that it happened again just moments later! A second coyote was chased into the underbrush, too.  A week or two later, we learned that our friends had witnessed this heretofore unprecedented scenario yet again on the day after we left Nevada!  Evidently, the big Mule Deer out west have learned the coyote's own strategy of hunting in packs - and they've learned it very well, indeed!


  1. I grew up in Maynard, MA and I moved out to Utah almost two years ago. During the last breeding season at one point I saw almost 20 Black-billed Magpies in my backyard. Like you, I get so excited when I see them even though they're extremely common here. I feel the same way about the quails too. There is a botanical garden at the U of U that always has lots of quails nesting and the babies are so cute!

  2. Amazing photographs! The very same thing happened with my deer this morning. I hope you don't mind that I used one of your pictures to illustrate what happened at my place. I gave you full credit and also linked your blog. If I find out why this happens (seems counterintuitive for deer), I'll let you know.


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